Ales Hemsky took more involvement in practice today, per Joanne Ireland. Tom Renney has been saying for the last week or so that Hemsky could return to the lineup during this road trip, even. Without question, Hemsky’s contribution to the line up will be felt heavily with the team still struggling to score goals (luckily the goaltending/defense has been strong).
Having too many offensive forwards in our line up certainly isn’t a bad problem to have, but should the Oilers look at moving one of them? Ryan Jones’ rib injury (if it keeps him out of the line up) might stall things a bit, in addition to Ales Hemsky’s recovery time. However, the team should maybe think about moving one of their forward stock and bringing in a young d-man.
Linus Omark has already gone on record as saying that he will consider jumping ship for Europe if it looks like he’ll be in Oklahoma City for long. He would be a reasonable candidate in my eyes, despite being a favorite amongst the statistical bloggers. And while I do agree that there is a player here, I’m not sure I have the patience to find out. The guy is definitely strong on the puck and very creative. But the offense has not been there at all this year. He may still have good value around the league, and perhaps it would be a good time to move him (even though we likely won’t get 100 cents to the dollar here).
Sam Gagner is a popular suggestion among the fan base too. I can understand that suggestion as well.. it’s tough to really say for certain what he does better than Linus Omark. Omark is more stronger on the puck. Gagner has a better head on his shoulders, however. He also might think the game from the perspective of a line better than Omark (who is a bit more individual). However, his strength on the puck is questionable at best. I would have to say though that there is a very good 2nd line center (yes I’ve accepted his 2nd line center/winger status now… thanks to “the Nuge”) in there though. Once Hemsky is back, I’d really like to see a line of Smyth / Gagner / Hemsky, at least for a few games. I would hang on to Gagner.
Ryan Jones’ name hasn’t really been brought up. But should he be a consideration? He is the least talented (arguably) of our top-six forwards. And granted, he really only is a top-six forward because Hemsky is out. Does he help this line up more than a guy like Teemu Hartikainen would? I’d say yes. Yes in the sense that he provides a lot of character in the dressing room. This sort of thing goes unrespected amongst fans, but I believe it to be very important with a young team. I also think that some players we should take the long route with when it comes to development. A guy like Hartikainen will benefit more from top-six minutes in the AHL than he will with bottom-six minutes in the NHL.. for now. I wouldn’t consider Ryan Jones as a piece to move at this point.
Another name to trade or waive would be Darcy Hordichuk. I know this suggestion would seem as a great idea to many of you. I’m not on board with this idea just yet though. It might be a consideration one day.. but I’d still like to give him a chance to put his money where his mouth is.
So what about Ales Hemsky? His name gets thrown around a lot as a trade suggestion. Well, as much as I detest the fact that he is so often injured, I do realize that he has a big impact when in our lineup. I would not move him at all unless we’re getting a solid forward back. And really, that doesn’t make much sense that this kind of deal would happen. So I say we hang on to Hemsky. This team desperately needs some secondary scoring. Reuniting Smyth and Hemsky will add several goals. It will also allow us to put together a decent 3rd line.
The other option is just to stand pat. Move no one. It would require someone to be moved back to the AHL (ex. Lander), but it would keep all our players in the organization. Do we need to move a forward at all (whether it’s for the purpose of making room for some other forwards or to improve our back end which has been great on ice despite being bad on paper)?
Who would you move, if anyone?